THE TREEHOUSE, HOLT
During the next 4 weeks, I hope to get this message out to as many people as possible to support a fantastic Community Enterprise in Holt, The Treehouse, providing much needed free amenities for our young families.
Covid-19 has caused such devastation and disruption in the last 6 months it has left challenges that will take considerably longer to return to any sort of normality. There are many enterprises that will not receive any Government help and will need a financial helping hand to get back on their own feet.
One such project is The Treehouse as it offers so much that would otherwise be completely lost to our young families and other members of the community.
Holt had a successful and well used Sure Start Centre. However, we were suddenly informed it was to be closed and the building put out to tender. Many worried families were left to await the decision about the future of the building, which would dictate the possibilities available to our young families in Holt.
We then received our first good news in this procedure. Two dedicated and motivated women had the vision to identify what was required to continue the amenities so needed by our young parents and the drive to put them in place. They also realized the possibility to expand on these to benefit many others in the community. This inclusive plan won them the tender.
They then worked with the Community and planned their delivery of group activities, a mixed timetable and practical provision for parents’ needs. They very quickly established a wonderful rapport and garnered many supporters. However, they received no funding support from any external source. All the preparatory work and materials needed were provided by themselves, with any voluntary help available. So, as you can see, a huge amount of very hard work has already been invested in this Community Project and local support and necessity have been proven.
They are now a registered CIC which is a Community Interest Company, so this is a Social Enterprise, and the work undertaken so far is evidence of the commitment and determination to effectively take this project forward.
When COVID19 struck it could not have been at a worse time as it put an immediate stop to organizing fundraising by “making and selling” and prevented further developing the groundwork. To enable them to be able to guarantee their "official" opening, they need financial support to help to make up for lost time and input.
It would be fantastic if we could raise £5,000 to complete the outdoor learning/play area and sensory garden; to provide materials for a wide range of creative groups and to get jobs and infrastructure completed to underpin the next year. The Treehouse could then be on the way to self-sufficiency and facilitating continuity of these essential free services.
If you can support this most worthy project, run by people who have already proven its popularity and value to the community, as well as their own resolution, your donation would be very gratefully received.
A message from the founders of The Treehouse, Lorna and Rachel
We re-opened the building which was the former Holt Children’s Centre and began to run a Community Café, re-designing the garden to give people a beautiful outdoor space to enjoy and running workshops, geared towards all ages to help inclusivity and social cohesion. We offer music groups, community groups, art sessions, breastfeeding cafes, gardening clubs, and more; all for free.
Due to the closure of the Children’s Centre, it had become increasingly difficult for new parents to find support or to weigh their babies at a time suitable to them. We have implemented a "self weigh" system and have baby scales on site. The health team will be running clinics from The Treehouse when we are able to open so that they can further support new parents.
We became aware of high levels of post-natal depression in our area and have created a schedule of groups that provide a support system for parents. This early support system is of paramount importance when protecting the mental health of new mums. There are no personal parenting preparation classes; they are now online. There are no 6-week postnatal checks with a health care professional. We understand the importance of peer support and how simply chatting to someone and sharing advice and empathy can help a great deal; so we have a trained breastfeeding mother supporter on site which means that many mums, dads, and babies are sitting together and chatting in comfort.
We host ‘home education meet-ups’ once a week, where local families who home school their children come along and get together for socializing. They make use of our vast outdoor space and the garden truly comes alive with laughter. Our outdoor space is also very important for other parents. We have many who come to let their children play outside in a safe place where they know the children are happy and can come to no harm.
Friendships are forming right in front of our eyes; people are going into our music group as strangers and coming out as friends who stay for coffee. Children are mixing with others that they perhaps would not normally meet. They are learning through play about relationships and acceptance. This has become, in the word of one of our regulars, ‘a safe-haven’. It has exceeded even our own expectations just how much The Treehouse means to people.
“You do not have to be in need
our fridge is here for all.....indeed!
Take a little...Take a lot....
Come and see what we have got”
Just days before we had to close, due to the COVIS-19 outbreak, we had begun to design our kitchen garden with the children and adults in our community. It is being designed to offer space that promotes positive wellbeing and naturally helps with mild to moderate depression. We aim to offer horticultural therapy later in the year, combining the side-by-side therapy of gardening with the beauty of our wild garden.
We have so many plans ready to put in place once the government gives us the all-clear to re-open. We had only been open for 4 weeks before it became necessary to close our doors. Despite incredible popularity, we had not had enough time to generate enough money to cover overheads and will struggle to restock to reopen.
We are staying as involved with our community as possible during this time through social media and we are holding daily live online music groups that have received a fantastic response; what people need right now is stability and as much normality as possible.
We are deeply saddened that this wonderful facility, which we have created with no external funding, and which was so warmly received, is now at risk through something we have no control over. Our only desire is to ensure we can get back to The Treehouse as soon as possible, to continue to offer the extra support, of which our most vulnerable members of society are in considerable need.
We are hoping that funds raised will help us to pay for stock when re-opening but also to cover the monthly payments of insurance, electricity, gas, water, broadband and equipment hire while we are unable to generate income.